Various Artists

Groove Club Volume 2 : Cambodia Rock Spectacular!

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Recorded mostly live without the careful control that a recording studio allows, these 19 cuts of Cambodian rock have a delightfully unhinged, raw, and ragged sound, as traditional instruments mesh and clash with rock guitars and keyboards, all with surprising vitality. The music collected here is full of bright grooves, but this release is also, in ways, a memorial. The rise of the Khmer Rouge in 1975 changed the landscape of Cambodia on every level, and massive famines and a chilling campaign of genocide joined to cause the deaths of some two million Cambodians, a number that is staggering to comprehend. Among those deaths were some of the musicians represented here: Sinn Sisamouth, Ros Sereysothea, and Pan Ron all were executed by the Khmer Rouge. There’s a rhythmic and wild joy in these sides, but there’s a sadness, too, and it reminds us that playing music is always a serious matter.

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